Delicate Balance in DNA Production | The Institute for Creation Research

Delicate Balance in DNA Production

Scientists recently ran experiments to determine what happens when excess nucleotides are present during DNA replication.1 In normally functioning living things, each newly formed cell receives all the freshly minted DNA it needs. But DNA copying (replication) requires manufacturing a new chromosome based on the template of an existing one—a complicated task.

Enzymes assemble tiny chemical building blocks called nucleotides into long chains millions of bases in length. What would happen if an overabundance of nucleotides overwhelmed the DNA replication site?

Using bacteria as their subject, researchers ran tests to find out how this process is regulated. Reporting in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they were surprised to discover that only a slight uptick from normal nucleotide production will hinder the error-checking process and cause an increase of harmful mutations to occur during DNA replication.1

DNA assembly requires nucleotides in the form of deoxynucleoside 5'-triphosphates (dNTPs) and apparently requires them in a very precise concentration. The study authors wrote, "The results of this work reveal that seemingly modest changes in the cellular dNTP concentrations can have dramatic consequences for the mutation rate."1 Eventually, "error catastrophe," a kind of mutational meltdown, rendered the bacterial genomes useless, like an encyclopedia packed with gibberish.

This research clearly implies that cells not only need DNA copying, error-checking, and repair enzymes but also require molecular detectors that monitor nucleotide levels, mechanisms that communicate those levels to the dNTP manufacturers, and a process to govern production rates accordingly. In other words, this discovery adds one more critical component to the already long list of parts that must all simultaneously be in place for any cell to function.

So many precisely interacting parts do not just come together by chance. No wonder Job wrote, "Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?"2 As in other cases where a precise balance of supplied materials is required, DNA replication reflects purposeful creation through a wise Designer.

References

  1. Ahluwalia, D. and R. M. Shaaper. 2013. Hypermutability and error catastrophe due to defects in ribonucleotide reductase. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 110 (46): 18596-18601.
  2. Job 12:9.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on November 22, 2013.

The Latest
NEWS
Supersaurus-Sized Dinosaur No Match for the Flood
Scientists are still trying to out-do each another by finding the biggest dinosaur. Brian Curtice, from the Arizona Museum of Natural History, recently...

NEWS
Inside December 2021 Acts & Facts
How can we understand Christ’s role as our mediator from a scientific perspective? Why was ICR's first dinosaur excavation significant for...

APOLOGETICS
Christ’s Providence Is Clearly Seen in Bird Migrations
Just as monkeys can’t accidently type Shakespeare texts, birds can’t migrate by evolutionary luck, despite imagined eons of time for “lucky”...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Snowflakes
by Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with...

ACTS & FACTS
The Gift of God Himself
Each Christmas we remember how deeply God loves us. His wondrous plan of salvation—first set in motion in the Garden of Eden—was miraculously...

ACTS & FACTS
Early Land Plant Evolution?
In a recent Science article, two evolutionists consider land plants (embryophytes) to have evolved from stoneworts (charophyte algae).1 A...

ACTS & FACTS
Biblical Creation and Intellectual Foolishness
In a recent interview discussing his new book In Quest of the Historical Adam, philosopher and Christian apologist William Lane Craig acknowledged his...

ACTS & FACTS
Are Birds “Cousins” to Reptiles?
Are today’s birds genealogical “cousins” to today’s reptiles due to a shared evolutionary ancestry? No. However, birds and...

ACTS & FACTS
Haleakala National Park: One of Many Young-Looking Volcanoes
You can start the day atop the cold peak of Mt. Haleakala and end it on a warm beach on Maui. The sprawling volcanic mountain rises 10,000 feet above...

ACTS & FACTS
The Oceans Point to a Young Earth
by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D., and Tim Clarey, Ph.D.* Over 70% of Earth's surface is covered by water, most of which is marine and contained in...